Is Philanthropy Driven by the Human Desire to Cheat Death?

George Bernard Shaw quipped that a rich man ‘does not really care whether his money does good or not, provided he finds his conscience eased and his social status improved by giving it away’. Was he right?

Bill and Melinda Gates watch their daughter Jennifer perform during The Hollywood Reporter Trophy class at Longines Los Angeles Masters. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for Masters Grand Slam Indoor)

In Socialism for Millionaires (1896), the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw quipped that a rich man ‘does not really care whether his money does good or not, provided he finds his conscience eased and his social status improved by giving it away’. Was he right to be so cynical?

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Pope Francis: Challenge Your Feelings of Contentment

His Holiness Pope Francis wants to see the end of two things in this world: red sauces at diplomatic dinners, and arrogance.

After much research and many interviews with religious leaders of all faiths and denominations, writer and social justice advocate Mark Shriver has come to the conclusion that the pope is restoring the "soul" of the Catholic church through his commitment to core principles of humility and charity. According to Shriver, Pope Francis understands power and uses it effectively on behalf of the disadvantaged. He invites everyone – Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or atheist – to challenge two things: contentment and arrogance. Many of the social divides we experience are a result of a cognitive dissonance between ourselves and other people. The distance could be lessened if we were all out on the frontiers of life, outside of our comfort zone, connecting to those who need it most and showing them that we acknowledge their dignity and humanity as something separate to their current circumstances. "The frontier doesn't have to be halfway around the world, it can be in your neighborhood," says Shriver. "You can go talk to the neighbor down the street that you don't really like or you don't know, and you don't want to take the time to get to know. So that challenge to go to the frontiers is a pretty challenging one." Shriver's new book is Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis.

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How Donating to Disaster Relief Can Do More Harm Than Good

What if you found out your disaster relief donation did more harm than good? Juanita Rilling explains the humanitarian logistics of unwanted donations, and how you can give in a more informed way.

When we see a disaster strike, it’s a knee-jerk reaction to want to help. It’s possible, however, that despite your best intentions your charitable act may be more of a hindrance than a help. That flies in the face of everything we know about disaster relief – these people need as much as they can, as quickly as they can get it, right? But often our generosity isn’t informed by humanitarian logistics; good intentions can do harm if they lack understanding, as Albert Camus once wrote.

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